New Report: Services for WV Victims of Domestic Violence Lack Resources to Meet Requests

Charleston, W.Va. – Today, the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WVCADV) discusses the new findings from the 18th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report compiled by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), and just released at the end of March.

Child coloring with crayons, sitting in mother's lap.

The “Domestic Violence Counts Survey” is a one-day snapshot—an unduplicated count of adults and children seeking domestic violence services. Each year, NNEDVsurveys Domestic Violence (DV) programs in every state in the country, and then summarizes the data for each state, in order to raise awareness about the lifesaving services local domestic violence programs provide to survivors and their families.

In West Virginia, 100% of the DV programs responded to the survey.

“That level of participation means we get a really accurate picture of what is happening in our state,” said Tonia Thomas, one of two WVCADV Team Coordinators, “and what we see is that, on the day of the survey, 436 adult and child victims of domestic violence throughout West Virginia received lifesaving services from local programs across our state, including emergency shelter, housing, transportation, legal support, and more.”

The report indicates that 254 of the victims served on that day—about 60%—received housing and emergency shelter, while 182 of those victims—about 40%—received non-residential supportive services such as housing advocacy, legal support, transportation (such as transportation to court or to the home of a trusted family member), and more.

Domestic Violence services providers in West Virginia are incredibly efficient, with only 9% going for administrative costs such as managing the finances, grant writing, and human resources. The rest—91%—goes right to direct services for victims, including shelter overhead; victim safety planning; advocacy with civil, criminal, healthcare, and community resources; and more.

Despite that efficiency and the tireless work of WVCADV and member programs, the report illustrates that domestic violence services in West Virginia do not have enough resources to meet needs for service.

Funding for these programs is currently at risk across the country as the federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA) funds falter, but in West Virginia, state funding has filled this gap for the past four years.

While other state coalitions are struggling due to the VOCA cuts, thankfully WV legislators have offset the federal cuts with state funds.

Programs have said they’re grateful to legislators, and to the WV Division of Administrative Services, Justice and Community Services for keeping direct victim services for victims of crime at level funding. WVCADV plans to meet with federal representatives in June to advocate for federal funds to reduce VOCA cuts and add appropriate, adequate federal funds.

WV Licensed Domestic Violence Programs also receive funding administered through the Department of Human Resources. It’s this funding that has not seen an increase in over 10 years, and that is having an impact.

“Survivors in West Virginia deserve a system that can keep up with inflation,” said Joyce Yedlosky, also a Team Coordinator for WVCADV. “Imagine trying to buy groceries and pay rent and utilities using the budget you had back in 2014. But our shelters are doing just that. It’s heartbreaking to have to say ‘no’ to requests when we know it might mean someone experiencing abuse might go to court un-supported or has nowhere to go but a car or a park bench—or worse, back to the abuser.”

WV programs lacked sufficient resources for 12 requests for service on the single day surveyed for the NNEDV report. The vast majority of the unmet requests (67%) were for emergency shelter, hotels, and transitional and other housing that can help victims escape abuse and start rebuilding their lives in safety.

Without sufficient funding, more survivors will be forced to stay in dangerous situations; more will not have the assistance they need to obtain domestic violence protective orders, to keep their children safe, to find jobs and homes of their own, away from abusers.

“We need robust funding for critical services,” acknowledged Yedlosky. “Our services truly mean the difference between life and death for both adults and children experiencing abuse in West Virginia.”

100% of West Virginia’s domestic violence service providers across the state participated in the survey. Click on the county in the map to find local programs.

Barbour Berkeley Boone Braxton Brooke Cabell Calhoun Clay Doddridge Fayette Gilmer Grant Greenbrier Hampshire Hancock Hardy Harrison Jackson Jefferson Kanawha Lewis Lincoln Logan Marion Marshall Mason McDowell Mercer Mineral Mingo Monongalia Monroe Morgan Nicholas Ohio Pendleton Pleasants Pocahontas Preston Putnam Raleigh Randolph Ritchie Roane Summers Taylor Tucker Tyler Upshur Wayne Webster Wetzel Wirt Wood Wyoming

Latest From WVCADV